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Maidment & Carter Ltd.

Builders Serving - Dorset | Wiltshire | Somerset | Hampshire and Beyond

'Traditional Values - Contemporary Thinking'

Advice - Some Building Terms Explained

Architect A professional with a degree in building design, who will design, plan and produce detailed plans and drawings of your building/extension. An architect will work with the surveyor and builder advising them on the construction.
Architrave A decorative wooden trim or plaster moulding that forms a frame around a window or doorway.
Blockwork Pre-cast concrete blocks which are generally used to build the internal walls or outer skin of a cavity wall.
Building Regulations Set down by law, the Building Regulations are policed by the local council to ensure the health and safety of people in and around buildings. A building regulations inspection will take place at several key points during the construction of any building. Work may only continue if the inspector passes the work done to date.
Cavity Wall A wall built with two skins (layers) and insulation between to help prevent moisture build-up and retain heat.
Condensation Small water droplets that occur when warm air comes in contact with a cold surface, often a sign of insufficient insulation.
Cornice Decorative moulding along the interior join between the ceiling and the wall or at the top of an exterior wall.
Damp Proofing A paint on skin, plastic membrane or other form of treatment that prevents dampness or the effects of dampness.
Dry Lining Plasterboard or similar material is attached to wall mounted battens in place of plasterwork or prior to plasterwork for an improved finish.
Eaves The overhanging part of the roof.
Fascia The flat horizontal surface just below the edge of the roof.
Flashing The pieces of sheet metal (often lead) secured around the joints, chimneys and angles of a roof to prevent water penetration.
Footings The foundation of a building or wall.
Foundations Generally underground - the foundations transfer and distribute the weight of the building above evenly across the ground.
Fuse Box Central electrical box containing wires for each electrical circuit used in the house, that will cut out if the current running through exceeds safe levels.
Hardcore Rubble used to form the base of a concrete slab.
HIP (Home Information Pack) A HIP must be prepared by all house vendors prior to putting their house on the market, containing all the relevant information about the property.
Hip On the slope of a roof where the two angles meet.
Insulation 'Padding' which can be made of fibreglass, wool and even recycled paper inserted into the wall cavity and loft to retain warmth in a property.
Joist A horizontal structural element usually timber to support floors, roofs or to form a ceiling.
Lintel A beam positioned above a window or door that supports the weight of the wall above it.
MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) A stable wood-like substance used to make furniture, cupboards etc.
Membrane A thin painted skin or sheet used in damp proofing.
Mortar Generally a mix of sand, water and cement used to hold bricks or stones together. Old houses may need mortar to be mixed with lime rather than cement.
Mullion The vertical dividers between lights of a window - can be made from wood, metal or stone.
Padstone The weight-bearing stone that carries the end of a joist in a wall.
Parapet Low wall at the end of a balcony or roof.
Pendant Light Light fitting hanging from the ceiling.
Planning Permission Effectively this is a licence issued by the local council allowing the construction, alteration or extension of a building to which a range of conditions may be added.
Plasterboard Pre-prepared sheets of plaster sandwiched between paper which are nailed to battens to form internal walls.
Plasterwork Final skim of plaster that is applied to plasterboard prior to painting - also a term used for decorative plaster mouldings applied to ceilings or walls.
Purlin A large horizontal roof beam that supports the rafters.
Quantity Surveyor A trained professional responsible for estimating the materials required to build and complete a construction project.
Rafter Sloping beams in either wood or metal that run from a roof ridge to its edge to which the roofing materials are secured.
Rainwater Harvesting The collection of rainwater to use in the internal plumbing system for flushing toilets etc.
Render A thin layer of plaster on the outside of the building to cover the blockwork.
Reveal The side of a door or window.
Ring Main A circular of electrical wires round a building that carry electricity to sockets positioned on it. Power flows in both directions.
Rising Main The pipe that brings cold water to a building's cold water tank from the outside supply.
RSJ (Rolled Steel Joist) Now used as a general term for a heavy weight roof or wall support.
Rooflight Window inserted into the roof.
Septic Tank Underground collection tank for household sewage which separates liquid and solid waste allowing the former to drain into the surrounding earth.
Screed Smooth thin top layer on a concrete floor generally of sand and cement.
Snagging Final detailed check with any minor remedial fixing prior to sign off of building work.
Soffit The underside of the roof overhang or arch.
Specifications Detailed drawings, measurements and materials for a building against which the builder and quantity surveyor will provide a quote and which will form the basis of the construction.
Studwork Framework of timber to which plasterboard is affixed to create internal walls.
Structural Engineer A qualified professional who will assess the stability of the foundations as well as ensure the structural safety and stability of a building's design.
Subcontractors These are a team of specialists who provide a service for which the builder may not have their own in-house staff, but who will be employed and directed by the builder.
Superstructure The part of thebuilding that rises above the foundations.
Surveyor Professional trained to take accurate measurements and dimensions of land or buildings.
Transome Horizontal divisions between window panes.
Underpinning The restoration or extension of an existing building may require the strengthening of its foundations. This is done by digging out sections of the current foundations and infilling with concrete.
Wall Tie A piece of metal that holds the two faces of a cavity wall together. Designed to prevent moisture crossing the cavity.

  • Extensions
  • Loft & Barn Conversions
  • Refurbishments
  • Bathrooms
  • Bedrooms
  • Carpentry & Joinery
  • Decorating
  • Renovations
  • Roofing & Drainage
  • Stonework & Brickwork
  • Plumbing & Electrical
  • Doors & Windows
  • Kitchens
  • Conservatories
  • Floors
  • Tiling
  • Interiors
  • Plastering
  • New Builds
  • Commercial
  • Insurance

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Maidment & Carter Ltd. Unit 3c, Sunrise Business Park, Higher Shaftesbury Road, Blandford Forum, Dorset DT11 8ST

Telephone / Facsimile: 01258 45 45 22

© Maidment & Carter Ltd. 2009
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Builders Serving Dorset | Wiltshire | Somerset | Hampshire and Beyond